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We Are All Very Proud of It

Posted by on July 4, 2016

August 21 and September 3, 1944: Stanley writes two letters to Dad, apologizing for “the delay in writing.” Still with the 401st Bomb Group at Deenethorpe in England, and in the waning days of the English summer, Stanley reports that “it is kind of chilly outside” and “it is raining. We’re burning logs in the stove to keep warm.”

The big news on the 21st is that “Our outfit together with several others was awarded the Presidential Citation. It is a ribbon of blue with a gold metal frame around it and it is worn on the blouse just above the right pocket. It is a very nice ribbon and we are all very proud of it. We can also wear two bronze stars [on]…the ETO ribbon.”

Image of the Presidential Unit Citation

Image of the Presidential Unit Citation


Apparently, Dad had written to Stanley about the Good Conduct Medal, prompting Stanley to note, “In regard to the good conduct medal which you received, was it a ribbon or a medal.  I don’t think they give the medals as yet. …In addition to my good conduct medal I can wear the Spam ribbon (the ETO ribbon) and also a blue ribbon – the Presidential Citation ribbon is the one I’m really proud of.”  

They are keeping track of the progress of the Allies as they sweep across Europe. “One of the fellows today got a big map of France by which we can keep a chart of how we are moving in France. The Germans are going back so fast sometime they don’t even have a chance to bury their dead. Now that they are on the run, they don’t like it. They had it coming to them.”

Other than that, it is life as usual at Deenethorpe. As is often the case, in his downtime, Stanley geos to see the movies at the base theater. Mentioned in these two letters are Three Hearts for Julia, Cover Girl, Christmas Holiday, and “Bathing Beauty with Esther Williams and Red Skelton. It was in Technicolor and Esther really looked beautiful in the picture. Also saw Summer Storm…”

In addition to the bombing runs made by the air crews, “the 8th Air Force has a bond drive on and so far everyone has been doing pretty good. Our outfit hasn’t yet hit its goal but it is getting up there. On payday I guess I’ll buy some more bonds.”

As payday has rolled around on the first, Stanley writes on the 3rd that some of the guys have plans for their money other than war bonds because “the fellows are absorbed in a card game.” While some of the guys are playing cards “the radio is on and [we] have heard some good old American music. We also have a dial twister on our barracks. Just when you are listening to some good music, bingo, he gets up and then the dial goes back and forth until you get sick and tired of static.”

Before signing off, Stanley writes that he has found another way to pass the time when not working in the office. “In our recreation building we have a ping pong table and we’ve been playing for the past few days. I’m getting experience in the game. You better start practicing so when we get home we can really have a good game. …If you can buy some ping pong balls in your vicinity, either in the PX or some sport shop send them to me. I can use them. Let me know how much they are and I’ll pay you for them.”

Well, that just about wraps things up from the 401st in Deenethorpe. Before leaving, the following is a list of the missions flown by the 401st in August, 1944.

  • August 1, 1944: German Aerodrome, Chartres, France
  • August 3, 1944: Rail Yard, Strasbourg
  • August 4, 1944: Airfield, Anklam
  • August 5, 1944: Oil Storage Depot, Nienburg
  • August 6, 1944: Aircraft Engine Works, Genshagen
  • August 8, 1944: Strike Against Enemy Forces: Hautmesnil
  • August 9, 1944: Target of Opportunity: Luxembourg
  • August 11, 1944: Fortified Positions, Brest
  • August 13, 1944: Support of Allied Ground Troops, Elbeuf
  • August 14, 1944: Airfield, Hagenau
  • August 16, 1944: Airfield, Schkenditz
  • August 18, 1944: Railroad Bridge, Yvoir, Belguim
  • August 24, 1944: Industrial Plant, Weimar
  • August 25, 1944: Rocket Installation, Peenemunde
  • August 25, 1944: Oxygen Plant, Henin-Lietard
  • August 26, 1944: Chemical Plant, La Louviere-Terte
  • August 27, 1944: Henschel Plant, Berlin
  • August 30, 1944: V-1 Launch Site, Coubronne
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